Tahiti on a budget

Now there’s two words you don’t normally see on the same page ….. Tahiti and Budget!

It is possible to do Tahiti on a “wise” budget...not backpacker budget. With a smart combination of hotel and travel choices and a minimum budget of $6000USD for a week (based out of LAX) you too can experience the beauty that is Tahiti.

The three most popular destinations to visit are the main island of Papeete (Tahiti), Moorea and of course, the iconic Bora Bora.

Air Tahiti Nui is the official carrier to the Polynesian state and partners with various travel providers to offer some pretty good deals on multi-island visits that include round trip air from Los Angeles (approx. $1000pp), interisland air, accommodations at 3 & 4* resorts and some meals. Check out their Tahiti Vacations page.

Take the ferry between Papeete and Moorea. The high-speed catamaran takes only 30 minutes and costs around $15pp (USD) vs $60 for a 10 minute flight. This will cut down your inter-island flights to only two if you visit Bora Bora as well. Inter-island flights add up at a cost starting around $200 per segment.

If you are a member of a hotel frequent stay program, now is the time to cash in! Starwood, Hilton, InterContinental and Sofitel all have resorts here.

The Tahitian fantasy always includes an over water bungalow. Truly a Polynesian signature stay but one that will set you back between $500-$1000 per night. At triple the cost of a standard hotel room ($175) and double the cost of a garden/beach bungalow ($350), the over water experience is often what sets the vacation package cost soaring. There are ways to incorporate the over water experience wisely.

1.  Bora Bora is the most expensive island. Incorporate your over water stay on Papeete where rates at the Intercontinental Tahiti Resort and Le Meridien Tahiti can be booked for around $400/night during low season.

2.  Save big on Papeete by booking a standard hotel room (rather than bungalow) at great properties such as the Radisson Plaza Resort and the Manava Suite Resort where rates start at $175/night. Use your savings for a night or two to upgrade Moorea or Bora Bora.

3.  The best over water rates on Moorea are usually found at the Moorea Pearl and Intercontinental. Staying with the same hotel chain while island hopping also builds in some great value-added benefits.

4.  I can’t imagine going all the way to Tahiti (8hrs from LAX) and not seeing Bora Bora. She truly is the crowing jewel and to miss her gorgeous setting would be tragic. However this is where frugality must win. Consider limiting your stay to only two or three nights. Spend only one night in an over water bungalow and the rest in either a beach/garden bungalow. The best values are found at the Bora Bora Pearl Resort & Spa as well as the Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort.

Eating out in Tahiti is ridiculously expensive. Be sure that breakfast is included in your hotel rates. Visit the local markets on all the islands to stock up on snacks, fresh fruit and even wine and beer to enjoy in the privacy of your own room. Eat a late lunch. The lunch menus at resort restaurants are generally one-third to one-half less expensive than the dinner menus.

Visit in either November or April (shoulder season) or chance the humidity and afternoon showers of December through March. Tahiti will never be cheap, but with the right guidance and planning it can be done on a “moderate” budget!

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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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